Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kings—Hants.
I am very pleased to rise today to speak about the government's actual record rather than the selective statistics chosen by the hon. member for Carleton.
The results of the government's investment in people, communities and hard-working Canadians are clear. Canada's economy is sound and growing, the unemployment rate is low, business investment is recovering and there are more full-time, well-paying jobs, with more women working today than ever before in Canada's history.
In fact, I would like to draw the House's attention to the recent job numbers from Statistics Canada. In February, the economy added 30,300 net new jobs. All of the national gains were in full-time work.
The government is focused on building an economy that works for everyone and will continue to make progress on the things that matter most to Canadians, while being sensitive and responsible with new investments. In the face of emerging global risks, our approach will be practical and prudent, maintaining Canada's strong fiscal position and our ability to protect Canada from risk both today and tomorrow.
As a former business owner, I understand the importance of tax competitiveness. Small businesses thrive when there is a competitive tax environment. That is why we have lowered the small business tax rate, first to 10%, effective January 1, 2018, and then to 9%, effective January 1, 2019. Canada's combined federal-provincial-territorial average income tax rate for small business is one of the lowest in the G7. In the face of ongoing global developments, it is essential that Canada continues to innovate so that businesses seeking to expand and grow can confidently choose to invest in Canada.
In last year's fall economic statement, the government took important and timely action in this regard. This included allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of specific clean energy equipment to spur new investment and the adoption of advanced clean technology in the Canadian economy. It also included allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing or processing of goods. The government also introduced the accelerated investment incentive, which allows businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy to write off a larger share of the costs of newly acquired assets in the year the investment is made.
What does this mean for businesses? Taken together, the incentives announced in last year's fall economic statement made it more attractive for businesses to invest in assets that help drive growth, thereby freeing up capital that businesses can use to create better, well-paying jobs for Canadians.
In budget 2019, the government introduced a measure to improve the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program. It is a very important program. It encourages innovation by giving investment tax credits to businesses in all sectors that conduct scientific research and experimental development in Canada. With this measure, the program will more effectively support growing small and medium-sized firms as they scale up. It is a very important measure.
In today's global economy, new technology and innovation can reshape whole industries, and we want to make sure Canada is a central player in those transformations. We believe concrete, comprehensive and systematic measures such as the ones I have mentioned are more effective for continuing the strong growth seen in our economy.
The Canadian economy remains fundamentally strong, but we must also ensure that it remains strong as we work to combat the very real threats posed by climate change and the transition toward a greener economy. Building a strong economy can go hand in hand with protecting the environment.
The global challenge of climate change requires an innovative solution, one that can create jobs. That is why in November 2018, the government announced the creation of the advisory council on climate action to help identify fiscally sustainable opportunities to reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector and the building sector. The advisory council presented its final report to the government, which identifies a number of opportunities to reduce emissions and build a competitive clean growth economy that provides Canadians with good jobs.
The council identifies ways that the government can help Canadians switch to zero-emissions vehicles, like the federal purchase incentive and a scaled-up investment in enabling measures such as charging infrastructure and research and development.
Most important, our budget 2019 addressed the recommendations with investments to help make zero-emission vehicles more affordable by establishing a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell and longer range plug-in hybrid vehicles; make zero-emission vehicles more viable by expanding the network of charging and refuelling stations in workplaces, public parking spots, commercial and multi-unit residential buildings and in remote locations; attract and support new high-quality, job-creating investments in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing in Canada by accessing funding through the strategic innovation fund; and finally, work with auto manufacturers to secure voluntary zero-emission vehicle sales targets to ensure vehicle supply meets increased demand.
The government will continue to cut pollution, create jobs and support clean growth. Cleaner transportation will help ensure a heathier and more prosperous future for our kids and grandkids.
The government is committed to growing the economy by helping all Canadians. We believe in pressing forward with various measures that will help to keep Canada's economy strong and resilient in the face of new challenges, both at home and abroad.
More so than any other country in the G7, Canada has the economic resiliency and fiscal firepower at its disposal to withstand potential challenges. We have invested in the things that matter most to Canadians. The government has prioritized investing wisely in order to ensure prosperity for all and to grow the economy, while rejecting the failed policies of austerity.
I can assure all hon. members in the House that this government will continue along a path to growth that works for everyone.